Preferably in essay form (so you can read in a lounge chair while sipping a cocktail) and by someone who generally agrees with you about all things West-related (because it’s the long weekend and you ain’t got no time for dissent).
33 1/3 is a series from Bloomsbury that prints essays from one critic on one influential pop album in short books. The series is now up to about 100 titles but My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is one of the most recent albums covered because we usually need some distance from an album release before we can call it a classic.
Kirk Walker Graves is the Princeton educated writer who took on West’s album. Anyone who criticizes the value of an elite Ivy League education can sit down now (looking at you, Deresiewicz) because the world needs more smart people who are willing to spend their time and energy writing about Yeezy so this title proves the system is working.
What do you need to know besides “go buy this book now why are you still reading this post and not Graves’ essays?” Well Kirk Walker Graves solidifies his status as an expert on all things Ye by agreeing with my personal opinion on what I consider to be key issues.
1) MBDTF is a work of musical genius by a musical genius and I don’t care if it is less than five years old it is a classic and should be taught in schools.
2) The critics were wrong about 808s and Heartbreak. It is a complex masterpiece that deserves as much critical attention and discussion as MBDTF or Yeezus.*
3) Nicki Minaj’s guest verse on Monster threatens to steal the whole show. Whatever you think about Minaj and some of her weird musical decisions (“starships were meant to fly?”) you can’t deny that she is one of the most talented MC’s working right now based on this performance alone.
Now grab a book, put on some music, and enjoy the rest of your long weekend.
*Side note: Bad News is the best song you’ve never heard. Turn it on, tilt your head back, close your eyes, and wait for the violins.